This is the beginning of the end for the Canadian seal slaughter. The EU was a primary market for Canadian seal products, and the Canadian government estimates the loss of the EU market will cost Canada’s sealing industry $6.6 million (CAD) annually. Given that the landed value of the Canadian seal hunt last year was less than $7 million, the implications are enormous.
With this ban, the EU joins the United States (which outlawed seal products in 1972) and Mexico and Croatia, which ended the trade in 2006. Soon there will be nowhere left to trade the products of cruel commercial seal slaughters, and seals will be worth more alive than dead.
Seals’ lives have already been saved. Just the promise of an EU ban was enough to drive this year’s price for seal fur down to $15 (CAD) per skin—a decline of 86 percent since 2006.
As a result, many sealers stayed home. Out of Canada’s quota of 338,200 seals, fewer than 60,000 have been killed to date. By the regulated closing date of the seal hunt—May 15—it is likely more than a quarter of a million baby seals will have been spared a horrible fate.
Now that the EU has banned its trade in seal products, countless more seals will live their lives in peace from this year forward.